Morocco Shoot / by Patrick Pierson

What to say about Morocco? just go there. It’s one of the most foreign and curious places I may have ever been. Its a cinephiles dream. Rich in culture, history, cuisine, architecture and geography.

This was my second production venture with the Escape Artist, Peru being the first. They specialize and build packages for a large array of international travel. They arrange a massive tour itinerary in conjuncture with the various tourism boards and vendors. Good guys who also like good beer. 

The length of our shoot tacked up to about three weeks, we were scheduled to film in Casablanca, Fes, Chefchaouen, Marrakech, Aït Benhaddou, Legzira, Rabat, Tangier, the High Atlas mountains and the Sahara Desert. That doesn’t include all of the gems we stumbled upon moving from each destination. For this trip we employed Eoin McGuigan as an AC everyman (Eoin works in production in Minneapolis and is a pretty well versed international traveller) who also shot quite a bit of the footage. There was just so much to film and be that his precense was absolutely necessary. 

Filming in Morocco is interesting. Many of the locals really don’t like the idea of having a camera in their faces, especially one that looked like it wasn’t a standard tourist camera. We had to be very sensitive to that. In most cases the people that we were filming were informed ahead of time so that took a little of the burden off. 

The only bad thing I would say about the country is entering through customs. That was atrocious and cost us three shoot days, despite having all the legal paper work. If you do find yourself shooting there, make sure you pack small almost like a tourist, especially if it isn’t official. We had high hopes of using the drone again on this one, but alas it wasn’t going to happen; that was locked up in customs for the entirety of the trip. I suspect some idiots may have attempted to use one to fly over borders to transport drugs, our loss. Once we did get our gear we were fairly home free, everything got a lot brighter from there on out.

Asides from that initial problem, we had quite a blast traveling by van and filming every possible moment of interest. Our driver and local, Hasan, was a brilliant cartoon of a man who managed to be persistently entertaining. From staying with a Berber family in the High Atlas Mountains, getting stuck in blizzards, riding camels in the Sahara and getting lost in their stunning markets; we were able to capture some really breathtaking day to day life of your average Moroccan. The people are ridiculously friendly and are sincerely glad that you are there to experience it with them. Now that I’m familiar, I would definitely go back to spend more time in key places.